‘Watchdogs are dozing’ in D.C., say two Politico writers

imageThe Solomon Scandals, begun 30 years ago on an ancient electric typewriter, is partly about unsavory ties between the press, government and business.

But in a way it’s also a tribute to the bygone days when daily newspapers—without so much Net-based competition for readers and ads—could more easily splurge on investigative journalism.

And now? Here’s a relevant excerpt from a Politico piece, where Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris offer seven reasons for Americans to show a healthy skepticism toward Barack Obama despite all the accolades he’s received:

“7. The watchdogs are dozing

image“The big media companies that once invested in serious accountability journalism are shells of their former selves. The Tribune Co.—in other words, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune—has slashed its Washington staff by more than half. Newspaper chains such as Cox are fleeing D.C. altogether.

“The end result: There are few reporters in this country doing the kind of investigative reporting that hold government officials’ feet to the fire…”

image And that actually could hurt Obama in the long run—if problems in the bureaucracy don’t come to light. The Democrats control both the Hill and the White House, as the Politico writers note. And that’s not the best situation for investigative insight. The General Services Administration, setting for more than a few scandals over the years, including some that inspired The Solomon Scandals, could stand appropriate scrutiny.

Speaking of the GSA, I’d love to see the Politico or another publication check up on the agency’s office leasing program and find out if the agency played political favorites under George Bush to the extent it’s done at times in the past.

Note: I voted for Obama and am happy I did. But like any administration, his bears close watching.

(Via MediaBistro. Inaugural picture is from the U.S. military. Doberman photo is a Creative Commons image from Birdfreak. And guy on the book cover? That’s Sy Solomon—holding up a building to plunk down in the most profitable spot, with help from a crooked zoning lawyer.)

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David Rothman

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